Los Angeles Galaxy
Los Angeles Galaxy, The Galaxy lost five games all of the 2011 Major League Soccer season, and two of those were giveaways, with B sides sent in to absorb defeat in New York at the end of a insane stretch in early October and in the season finale at Houston a few weeks later.
They matched that total Sunday in just their ninth game, another hapless display in front of the net costing them plenty in a 1-0 defeat to the New York Red Bulls, who scored an early goal, then bunkered in and survived a second-half onslaught to escape with the points.
“It’s a bit of a broken record,” head coach Bruce Arena said, then did his best impression, mentioning 11 times in eight minutes that the Galaxy had “enough chances to create [enough] goals” to win, or words to that effect. Chances are all well and good, but when they’re not put away, things go wrong.
Things are going very wrong for L.A. (3-5-1, 10 points), which has lost three of six league home games and sit a dozen points — four victories — behind San Jose and Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference standings.
Ryan Meara made four big saves and the Red Bulls (5-3-1, 16 points) defended with vigor, but it’s the Galaxy’s lack of precision when it counts — a recurring nightmare for them — that’s quickly defining what is developing into a deeply disappointing campaign.
“It’s getting even more frustrating week after week …,” said David Beckham, whose crosses into the box provided a good deal of the dozen decent opportunities the Galaxy found and quickly lost. “We keep saying we’re not worried about it. It’s got to come a point where we need to be worried about it, and we’re close to that now.”
Joel Lindpere scored the goal for New York, striding through an open expanse and into the Galaxy box to collect a short pass from Jan Gunnar Solli and fire into the right-side netting. It was all that was required for the Red Bulls, who were missing six regulars — injured Thierry Henry and Teemu Tainio and suspended Rafa Marquez the headliners — and employed the expected tactics.
There wasn’t a whole lot of space for L.A. to operate, and the sharpness needed to break down New York’s 4-1-4-1 alignment wasn’t forthcoming. The rookie Meara did well to repel an Edson Buddle header at the start, a Mike Magee shot to begin the second half, a tremendous Juninho blast in the 82nd minute and Landon Donovan’s reflex shot from 12 yards in the 86th.
Juninho’s, a rising shot from outside the box reminiscent of several of his most spectacular goals, came close — “I was lucky to get a big enough piece of it to put over,” Meara said — and Robbie Keane nearly had one in the 13th minute, chipping over the keeper from Sean Franklin’s cross only for Markus Holgersson to track it down and clear it, flicking it back over his head, at the goal line. (ESPN)